Derek Jarman: Artist’s Death Marked With 30th Anniversary Livestream

(Photo: Derek Jarman at the 1991 Venice Film Festival. Gorup de Besanez via Wikimedia Commons)

The 30th anniversary of Derek Jarman’s death was marked this week by Creative Folkestone, an arts charity, commemorating the occasion with a special livestream event from Jarman’s iconic Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Kent.

This unique broadcast captured the breathtaking sunset views overlooking Dungeness, allowing audiences to partake in a three-hour stream via the Creative Folkestone website and various social media channels, including YouTube. To enhance the experience, viewers could customise their soundtrack using a Spotify music playlist curated specifically for Prospect Cottage.

Jarman’s connection to Prospect Cottage dates back to 1986 when he acquired the property—a modest fisherman’s shack nestled in the shadow of a nuclear power station. While filming with actor Tilda Swinton on the Kent beach, Jarman stumbled upon the weathered building, which served as a sanctuary amidst the turmoil of his HIV diagnosis. Today, Prospect Cottage symbolises Jarman’s resilience and creativity, attracting artists and visitors worldwide.

Derek Jarman Source From Author Christopher Hilton
Prospect Cottage Source Author Christopher Hilton via Wikimedia Commons

In a testament to Jarman’s enduring legacy, Creative Folkestone recently announced a new affiliate of artists in residence for Prospect Cottage, including Louis Shankar, Ami Clarke, and Lynda Laird. These artists will carry forward Jarman’s spirit of innovation and exploration, contributing to the rich tapestry of creativity that defines Prospect Cottage.

The preservation of Prospect Cottage was secured in 2020 through a successful campaign led by the Art Fund, which raised £3.5 million. Following the passing of Keith Collins, Jarman’s partner, in 2018, the cottage and its contents were entrusted to the care of Creative Folkestone. While the organisation oversees the maintenance of the site, Jarman’s extensive archive, housed at Tate Britain in London, preserves the essence of his artistic vision for future generations to appreciate.

Jarman’s contributions to British art and culture are immeasurable. A visionary filmmaker, writer, and activist, he challenged societal norms and pushed the boundaries of storytelling with films like “Sebastiane” (1976) and “Jubilee” (1978). Throughout his career, Jarman fearlessly explored issues of sexuality, identity, and politics, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of cinema and queer culture.

Despite facing declining health following his HIV diagnosis, Jarman continued to create, channelling his experiences into his work until his passing in 1994. His final film, “Blue” (1993), stands as a poignant meditation on loss and memory, encapsulating the essence of his artistic journey.

Today, Prospect Cottage remains a beacon of inspiration for artists and visitors alike, offering a glimpse into the life and legacy of one of Britain’s most iconic creative figures. Through its limited visits and residency program, Creative Folkestone ensures that Jarman’s spirit lives on, inspiring future generations to embrace creativity and pursue their passions.

Top Photo: Derek Jarman at the 1991 Venice Film Festival. Gorup de Besanez via Wikimedia Commons

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